Carole King’s ‘Tapestry’ broke new ground, remains a favorite
I judge my favorite records by the amount of time I have spent listening to them.
The record I have listened to the most in my life is Carole King’s all-time classic and four time Grammy award-winning “Tapestry.”
In fact, right now it would be my “desert island” disc. King is a “songwriter’s” songwriter.
What I mean by that is that she is looked up to by other songwriters and has been for more than 40 years. When “Tapestry” was released in 1971, King was already well-known and respected as a songwriter, mostly as part of the songwriting team of King and her first husband Gerry Goffin.
Together they wrote hits such as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “The Locomotion,” “Take Good Care Of My Baby,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman” and “One Fine Day” among others.
After divorcing Goffin and moving from New York to California, King released two albums on A&M Records, “the City” and “Writer,” in an attempt to launch a solo career.
King said on the DVD “Troubadours: The Rise of the Singer Songwriter” that she always had confidence in her music touching people but had no confidence in herself as a performer.
It was through working with James Taylor on his records that gave her the confidence to play live.
King’s first live performance was at the Troubadour Club in West Los Angeles in 1970 where she debuted the song “Beautiful” that would show up on King’s next recording, a year later.
With “Tapestry,” the third time was definitely a charm as King and her producer, Lou Adler, created a spontaneous, natural and earthy recordings thanks to Adler’s soft touch in production and King’s songwriting and more confident singing.
King sings from her soul with a conviction that you rarely heard at that time. On the DVD “Troubadours,” Adler said, “everything that I ever wanted to accomplish with the album just fell into place. When you listen to it you always get the feeling that she’s sitting there at the piano, singing to you.”
King had this to say: “It was astonishing! I had no idea it would do what it did.”
“Tapestry” was a blueprint for the singer/songwriter revolution that took place in Southern California and spread around the world.
In 1972, “Tapestry” received four Grammy awards for album of the year, best female pop vocal performance, record of the year for “Its Too Late” and song of the year for “You’ve Got A Friend.”
Three songs from “Tapestry” charted No. 1 on the Billboard top 100 after its release. Four songs on the album became No. 1 hits, all of which were written or co-written by King.
In 2003, the album was ranked No. 36 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest LPs of all time. “Tapestry” has spent more than six years on the Billboard top 200 LPs.
King did not attend the Grammy awards and refused to do any interviews about “Tapestry.”
This is what she said about it on “Troubadours”: “I told Lou (Adler) I wanted to let my music speak for itself, and I’m going home. So I didn’t go to the Grammy’s. I stayed home with Molly. But I got my wish. What existed, lived and got through to people was the music!”
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